A Lightning Moment: The Colima Volcano Through the Lens of Sergio Tapiro

Capturing Nature's Grandeur in a Single Frame


For over a decade and a half, Sergio Tapiro has been photographing volcanoes, but a shot he took in December 2015 was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. On a chilly morning, Tapiro set up his camera and tripod under a clear sky, about 8 miles away from the awakening molten rock beneath Colima volcano.

As the first explosion shook the mountain, Tapiro was already in action, capturing a series of long-exposure shots. Amidst the flying rocks and glowing lava, a colossal lightning bolt illuminated the sky for a brief moment. “This image is a gift from nature,” said Tapiro, who was stunned when he saw the photo on his camera display.


The photograph not only captured a magnificent moment but also earned Tapiro accolades in the nature photography category of the Your Shot community. Molly Roberts, Chief Photo Editor at National Geographic, praised Tapiro’s 15-year dedication to capturing the volcano.

Tapiro’s relentless patience and optimism led him to observe Colima for 20 consecutive days in December 2015. He even slept in his truck on some nights. With Colima being one of North America’s most active volcanoes, Tapiro is always ready with his camera for the next big eruption.